PhD studentship at Ecole Polytechnique, FR: Electromagnetically-launched strong shocks relevant for accretion shocks in astrophysics

Length: 3 year studentship
Funded by: Plas@Par excellence laboratory – University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris
Maintenance grant: €1,700 per month (
Supervised by: Dr Jean Larour, Dr Chantal Stehlé
The proposed enrolment date is 1st October 2013
The deadline for application is 15th May 2013.

Details of proposed research

Strong shocks are present in astrophysics, from stellar infancy (matter accretion from stellar disk to the young star, ejection in plasma jets) to supernovae explosion. Topology and dynamics are complex: roles of radiation, NLTE cooling or B-field. It is crucial to study such hypersonic shocks (Mach number>20) in the laboratory and to compare with simulation. So far, studies are done on large lasers, addressing pure hydro-radiative shocks (50-150km/s, 0.1-1bar). The project extends the class of shocks in radiative regime, at lower velocities, using a flexible and repetitive setup.

The PhD student will first perform experiments on a versatile kJ-class generator launching quasi-planar shocks up to 20km/s in low density gas. The setup is currently upgraded to get higher velocities, allowing to study various regimes of shock waves, depending on the gas, pressure and external B-field. The main task will be to design, to implement and to exploit a comprehensive suite of diagnostics of the shock plasma, the data being used to build a model and to benchmark 2-D or 3-D codes. These shocks will be used to prepare new diagnostics in view of foreseen experiments on laser-driven shocks.

Successful applicants must hold a Master of science in engineering, physics, astrophysics or equivalent. A previous experimental experience, in data acquisition or computer simulation is a merit, as a high evel in french or english. Please send your CVs to Dr Jean Larour (jean.larour(at) and Chantal Stehlé (chantal.stehle(at)

PDF version: PhD studentship at Ecole Polytechnique

Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas LPP
Ecole polytechnique 91128 Palaiseau
tel 33(0)169 33 59 54 fax 33(0169 33 59 06

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